Chapter 10 : Together
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The week quickly began to slip by, and Harry learned Australia was filled with wonders that he'd never dreamt of. That very next morning, the Wilkins had taken them all snorkeling out in the reefs, followed by more surfing and a day on the beach. They did not try to rush things with her parents, but instead enjoyed their well earned vacation as much as they could.
After a couple of days at the resort, Harry and Hermione dared to apparate elsewhere in Australia. They toured Sydney properly, and then explored the National Park at Kakadu where Harry was afraid he was going to have to adopt a little koala Hermione had fallen in love with.
They hiked the Uluru, the largest rock in the world. Saw kangaroos and wallabies on Kangaroo Island. Visited the city of Cairns and rented a private skiff to take them out to the Great Barrier Reef. Hermione had even talked Harry into going to a show at the famous Sydney Opera House - which she was sure he would never forgive her for.
Most of the time they were by themselves, but it did not phase either of them in the least to have to put on the little newly weds show in front of the others. In fact, it came quite natural to them, holding hands with each other, whispering close to each others ears, leaving short pecks on each others cheeks, embracing one another in each as only two lovers would. It's what they'd always done - to an extent - and it came naturally. After this long dark nightmare, it was what they each needed. Someone to be there, someone to lean on - each other.
But each was also careful never to put themselves into a situation like they had that first night in the spa, as the consequences could be devastating. They'd yet to talk about it, and each struggled not to think of it. They'd been sodden and at the end of a long, hard fought war. They accepted it, but they were friends, best friends, and each of them kept their mouths shut on the topic less they risked all that. All that, however, came to a head their fifth night at the White Sands.
Harry and the Wilkins' had taken on well together and Harry knew that if Hermione's real dad was just half as awesome as Wendell or her real mum half as charming as Monica, then Hermione was undoubtedly the luckiest daughter alive.
They were great hosts and the nicest of people to say the least. They were just... genuine. They treated everyone there like family, and this night, just like every other night, they found occasion to host a party. This celebration was to be held in honor of the Richardsons, who were leaving the next day back to the States.
The dinner itself was splendid – as always - but Harry could see signs of a frown behind the smiling facade Hermione wore. And after dinner, as Harry engaged Wendell about where he might find a Tasmanian Devil, Hermione slipped off alone. When she did not return for over twenty minutes, Harry thought it best to go and look for her.
. . . .
"Make a wish," Harry startled her and she turned to see him pointing to the sky. Hermione looked up just in time to catch the tail of a shooting star.
"Well..?" Harry intoned as he plopped down beside her in the sand.
"Huh?" Hermione questioned softly.
"Did you make a wish?"
Hermione smiled impishly. "I wished we could just stay here forever..." she sighed sadly, remembering Harry upon the giant rock their first day here. Her gaze was drawn out over the breaking black waves, rippling in the Moon's silvery light.
"So let's stay," Harry said casually as he pulled his knees up to rest his arms across them. Hermione gave a slight chuckle and just shook her head.
"Why not?" Harry asked sincerely. “I've been thinking the same thing.”
"We can't, Harry, there's my parents' lives for starters! And then school and Ron..." Hermione trailed off as she witnessed Harry shift uncomfortably and look away, down the deserted beach. "The Weasley's..." she added, "and Ginny and everyone else. We have to go back."
Harry had nothing to say. "So we'll go back," he sighed heavily. "Think I'm starting to miss Burns anyways," he smirked to her with that crooked grin. They both laughed shortly at this as Hermione curled her arm inside of Harry's.
"I've got to tell them, Harry..." Hermione finally said, the weight of the matter evidenced in her long voice.
Harry nodded confidently. "That's what we came here to do. We'll tell them tomorrow."
"I-I..." Hermione stuttered, "Oh Harry, I don't know what to say to them!"
"Not to worry," Harry rubbed at her back and shoulders. "I'll be right there with you, we'll tell them together. They're great people Hermione, we've just got to get them to listen, and I know they'll listen to you."
"Thanks Harry... really. For everything," Hermione leaned her head against his shoulder as Harry placed a gentle kiss atop her head. “I don't know what I'd do without you.” Something Harry could take comfort in.
And so they sat there like that, Harry with one arm holding Hermione close, Hermione with her head leaned against him, each watching the breaking waves, inhaling the cool breeze of the salty air, each lost in their thoughts. They sat in silence as the Moon arced about the star littered sky, no where to be – they were exactly where they needed to be, together.
Without warning, Harry eventually pulled himself free, standing up to shed his shirt.
"Harry! What are you doing?!" Hermione half gasped, half giggled.
“I've been thinking a lot about what you said the other night... about this being the first time you felt free and clear of everything,” Harry paused as he looked out over the vast, endless ocean once more.
“And I feel it. I – I can't remember the last time I've felt like this... happy," the word sounded foreign on his tongue. "Like it's finally all behind us. And then I think of going back to England...”
“Harry... we've-” Hermione tried before Harry cut her off.
“No,” Harry was short but turned back to her with an apologetic smile. “Not now. This is just too perfect, too... too beautiful,” he stretched his arms out to the full moon over the ocean as if to take it all in. “It's like we're standing at the edge of the world and no one nor anything can reach us!” he practically yelled it.
"Come on, if it's our last night here, I'm getting all that I can out of it! I'm going swimming!"
"What?!" Hermione scoffed as if he were joking. "We can't go swimming, we don't even have our bathing suits!"
"Right!" Harry said as he unfastened the button of his shorts. "Look around, Hermione! Look how amazing this place is! Come on!" Harry finished, slipping off his shorts, leaving himself in only his boxers. She tried to avert her eyes, but they kept coming back to him against her will. Without waiting for the blushing Hermione, Harry turned and ran out into the oncoming waves, diving head first into the waters.
Harry finally came back up a few meters out to where he was chest deep. "Ah, Hermione! Come on!" Harry splashed in the water. "Feels great!"
“You've got to be kidding me?!” Hermione gasped safely from the shore.
"Nope. If we're telling your parents tomorrow, this could very well be our last night here. Lets live it!"
Hermione bit at her bottom lip as she eyed Harry's white, glistening figure in contrast to the dark waves.
"You're not going to leave me hanging here, are you?!" Harry pouted, soliciting a laugh from Hermione. "Well?"
"Alright!" Hermione finally gave in, stomping her foot in the sand. "Just - just turn around first and let me get in."
Harry smirked at this. "Fair enough," he said as he turned around, staring off into the smooth horizon against the starry night. He was tempted to glance back, but too much a gentleman to give into those less scrupulous desires.
Eventually Harry heard a splash. Congratulating himself on getting Hermione to step out her shell, Harry turned back around, all smiles.
"Hermione?" Harry called. She was no where to be seen. "Hermione?!" he yelled again, this time a little louder. Taking a few steps closer to the shore, he squinted his eyes against the darkness as he scanned the beach line for her.
"Hermione?!" he called even louder, a trace of worry now in his voice.
"OI!" Harry yelped as he leapt a clear foot out of the water! Something had just grabbed his leg! He came splashing back down in a heap on top of whatever it was - and whatever it was, it was flopping around, laughing hysterically beneath him.
"HERMIONE!" Harry bellowed at her. He lunged for her, splashing her with water. Hermione could not control her hysteria. "Think that's funny, do you?! Nearly gave me a bloody heart attack!"
"Ha-ha-ha!" Hermione was having to grip her stomach. "You should have seen your face!"
Harry lunged again for her and this time grabbed her and dunked her below the waves.
"Hey!" Hermione came bobbing back up in protest, spluttering, her wet hair falling into her face. He let her break free, but instead of giving in, Hermione slipped behind him and with her hands clasped atop his head, she threw her weight up, pushing him under.
Harry let her, collapsing into the water, but then scrambled forward, swimming away a few meters before resurfacing in a laughing fit.
"You cheated," Harry splashed at her.
“All is fair in love and war,” Hermione teased him with a girlish voice, flitting her lashes.
“Careful, Granger...” Harry meant to continue the game, but then became distracted as Hermione flipped her drenched locks back out of her face. He slowly began drifting towards her as he eyed her with awe.
There before him, amidst all this wonder, was a beauty he could not name. Her delicate shoulders, just above the rippling waves shimmered in the moon's light. The flush of her soft neck and cheeks sent a shiver down him as he lost himself in those chocolate eyes. And Hermione stared right back, her white face pitted against the night's sky, shining like that of an marbled idols.
Something shifted. The water warmed. With green staring into brown, they slowly drifted together without a word spoken. As their arms met, and their nearly nude bodies came together, the precariousness of their situation finally dawned and they both chuckled lightly to each other at the somewhat intense situation.
"Er... clear night..." Harry kicked himself after he foolishly turned towards the weather like some fool.
"Uh... yeah..." Hermione's cheeks blushed. But they did not totally pull away. Instead, drawing side by side, they laid back into the water, floating as they stared up at the starry sky, simpy drifting.
They searched to change the unspoken subject. They began picking out constellations they knew – Hermione being much better at this game, reminiscing about their past week, Hermione telling Harry stories about her childhood and of her parents, her real parents.
The water grew calm and tranquil around them, the waves rolling in ever so gently. They let the current take them, drifting them further down shore. There was no rush.
“What do you think the others are up to?” Hermione finally asked him.
“No idea...” Harry answered honestly. He was doing his best not to think of home. “But I can assure you they're not enjoying themselves as much as we are!” he turned to glance at her, taking her hand as they floated.
“I just hope the Weasleys aren't still mad with us when we get back... We did leave in such a hurry,” Hermione said. She turned to look at Harry as he let out a long sigh.
He let his feet fall to the sand beneath the waves as he stood himself up to look out over the horizon once more, losing himself in it's vastness.
“I'm sorry. I just don't want to think about any of that right now.”
Harry couldn't explain what was coming over him, but all the talk of going back... of having to leave this place, this paradise, and return to what..? It was bringing him down - it was taking him back to those less pleasant memories only days and months ago.
Harry's trance was broken by two soft arms wrapping themselves around him. He felt the warmth of her smooth skin press up behind him, holding him close as she laid her soft cheek against his bare back.
“We don't have to talk about that, Harry.” Harry shivered as Hermione's breath trickled across his skin. “We don't have to talk about anything... ”
Harry was no longer thinking about what he was doing. The touch of her against him, the jolt it sent coursing through him, it made him forget all else. Harry turned in her arms, and took her shy face in his hands. Green met brown. Their nervous eyes looked into one anothers, but they could not pull away.
Neither spoke. They were as alone and as far away as they ever could be. They were at the edge of the world, the ocean laid out around them, the shining moon their only witness. The draw was too strong. After so long, there was only here and now.
They struggled. Some echo fought for some reason or some rhyme as to what was happening, but there was nothing to explain it. Nothing to compare it to. They were a team, they'd been a team for so long now, together... a good Bonnie and Clyde?
There was so much there when those eyes met. They could see so deep, touch on so many memories, so much happiness and so much pain. The pent up strain of the last year seemed to finally and truly run out of them each at last as they both took a deep, long breath.
There was no flirtatious suggestions, no teasing or leading up to it this time. With their eyes burning, their lips fell forward as their lids screwed shut, crushing their lips against one anothers.
Hermione's hands ran up into Harry's wild hair, clenching and tugging at it, pulling his lips harder against hers. They lost themselves in that desperate kiss, forgetting even how to breath.
Harry's fingers left tingling trails down her back until his hands ran across the clasp of her soaked bra. Without even stopping to consider what exactly he was doing, Harry's fingers fumbled with its clasp, unwilling to have anything come between them. He needed to be close to her, next to her - in the raw, unabated flesh.
She did not protest as Harry fumbled with it. Hermione was too busy losing herself in this kiss, kneading her lips against his as if expelling all her frustrations through it. Harry finally got it loose, and Hermione shrugged herself out of it, letting it fall into the water and drift away as she pressed her bare, heaving chest back up against his.
Their lips parted with the heat and their tongues began the lover's duel. There was no more hesitation for either, no reservations. As Harry ran a hand down her thigh, Hermione lifted it, wrapping her leg about Harry's waist as she bit as his lip with a sharp hiss.
As Harry broke away to leave a trail of kisses down her chin and neck, Hermione writhed against him as she wrapped her other leg around his waist, allowing him to hold her up against him.
"Hermione!” Harry groaned into her lips as she pressed herself against him. They kissed and explored each other in ways they'd never dared as they drifted ever closer towards the shore, lost in each other. They drifted until Harry's feet began to drag, and then his knees, and then Hermione's back.
The need was just too strong. It was unbearable and broke any barrier either had tried to set up these last few days. They let the rolling waves push them further up, but neither dared to break what they had started.
Harry moved his hands to brace himself atop her. He swirled his tongue about hers before sucking in and nibbling at her bottom lip, eliciting a moan from Hermione. He then shifted himself ever so slightly to begin a trail of kisses to the base of her ear. Hermione bucked up against him as his nipped at her lobe.
Harry dared further as he kissed down her neck, of running one of his hands across her shoulder and down her arm, before tickling it back up her side, to the rising bud of her breast.
Harry let the swell of it nestle into the edge of his palm, just savoring the feel of her, giving her the chance against hope that she would stop him. But no protest came as Hermione heaved her body against his touch.
Their kiss boiled into an even higher passion as Harry pressed himself against her once more. Where the rest of their clothes had disappeared to, who could say? It was magic. His eyes rolled into the back of his head as he could now feel the full heat of her touch searing against his skin. Their body's flowed against each other in unison as they moaned and gasped into each others mouths. Their intimacy reached a whole new level.
Harry's hands dared to cup and massage Hermione's breasts, teasing her with his gentle fingers. Harry took joy from Hermione's moaning at his touch, before he trailed his lips back to her ear, delivering yet another delicious squeal from Hermione. Slowly, seductively, be began a trek down her bare neck, along her collarbone, down onto the top of her heaving chest.
Hermione writhed below him, deliberately and unabashedly thrusting her nakedness against Harry's with ever more desire. As his lips reached her bare breasts, brushing across rising buds of her bossom, Hermione nearly lost it, crying out his name.
Lavishing himself upon her as the waves pushed them up onto the beach, Harry continued his journey down Hermione's bare body. He kissed across her navel, tracing his fingers delicately across her bare stomach, sending shivers across her in anticipation until he reached the valley leading down between her hips. Harry's lips moved onto the inside of one of her thighs as Hermione's delicate fingers twisted into Harry's hair, her trembling voice begging him... “Oh, Harry!”
Harry's mouth explored further until Hermione could stand it no longer. Clenching Harry by his hair, she cried out with lust as she pulled him all the way back up to her lips. She crushed hers back against with an unbridled fury his as Harry felt her wrap herself around him.
He collapsed back down atop her, crushing his lips against hers as their flesh relished in each others heat. And then, moving together like the waves of the sea, the two became one...
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